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Declare drugs a national disaster, state told

Declaring the drug problem a national disaster will contribute significantly to reduce the drug addiction problem in Coast region.

Nominated MP Sheikh Muhammad Dor said it was high time that the government declare the problem a national disaster as this will allow more resources to be directed at the war against drug trafficking. The legislator said the drug abuse problem in the region needed urgent attention as thousands of youths were already addicted to using the illicit and dangerous substances.

"We have been campaigning against drugs but time has come when the problem should be declared a national disaster so that the campaign is intensified," he said. The MP, who is also the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) secretary general urged the government to increases its resolve in fighting the menace by arresting drug barons and having them prosecuted.

He took issue with the anti-narcotics department saying it was doing little to put an end to the vice. He went on to challenge the newly-posted officers to name and shame known suspects in drug trafficking. Mere transfer of police officers would do little to curb the proliferation of drugs but a radical and sincere approach which would not spare those involved would have the desired effects, he said.

The council organising secretary Sheikh Khalifa Muhammad called for action to be taken against police officers who are colluding with drug barons. He expressed disappointment that while community leaders have reported cases of police officers protecting drug peddlers, their information was not acted upon. "We are worried that the police protect the peddlers and the drugs find their way to the drug addicts," he said.

Meanwhile the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) coast chairman Sheikh Muhdhar Khitamy has called for speedy investigations and persecution of drug traffickers. He accused the police of deliberately delaying the investigations and said they are doing a disservice to Kenyans who are eager to see that the law catches up with those who are involved in the illicit narcotics business.

Last month, the Internal Security Minister George Saitoti named four Members of Parliament as key players in the drug trafficking trade.

Those mentioned were Juja MP William Kabogo, Kilome legislator John Haron Mwau, Makadara MP Gidion Mbuvi and his Kisauni compatriot Ali Hassan Joho. Also mentioned was prominent Mombasa businessman Ali Punjani.

The four have vehemently denied their involvement in the illegal but profitable drug trade. The Coast region is the worst affected with Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu being the hard hit areas.

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